Feature Article

May 23, 2013

Ericsson Highlights Its Advances in Carrier-Grade Wi-Fi, LTE, Small Cells

This week at CTIA, wireless infrastructure and services giant Ericsson introduced a new solution for carrier-grade Wi-Fi, highlighted a collection of recent carrier deployments of its LTE technology, and announced a new small cell deal with Verizon.

While we’ve been hearing about the concept of carrier-grade Wi-Fi for a couple years now, Vish Nandlall of Ericsson explains that what’s new is the introduction of a traffic steering solution from the company. This Ericsson feature assesses available cellular and Wi-Fi connections and selects the best one automatically and in real time, explains Nandlall, head of strategy, marketing and CTO for Ericsson North America, who adds that the company is trying to unshackle this capability from Ericsson equipment.

“One of the problems with Wi-Fi offload has been the fact the Wi-Fi network can become just as congested as the mobile network, especially if all the end users opt to use the Wi-Fi network over the mobile network,” said Daryl Schoolar, principal network infrastructure analyst at Ovum. “Mobile operators have had very few options when it comes to traffic steering between the two networks to optimize performance. Today Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks made separate announcements that should help with this problem.”

As mentioned, Ericsson also used CTIA as an opportunity to review its recent LTE wins with U.S. regional service providers. The list includes Adams NetWorks of Illinois; Carolina West of North Carolina; Cellcom of Wisconsin; Chariton Valley of Missouri; Chat Mobility of Iowa; Iowa Colorado Valley Communications of Texas; MidRivers Communications of Montana; NewCore Wireless of Minnesota; and seven or eight others.

Nandlall says this long list – and the fact that Verizon Wireless in 2012 reached complete LTE coverage in the U.S., with AT&T expecting to catch up on that front this year – exemplify the fact that LTE is the fastest-growing ecosystem in the history of wireless.

As LTE deployments have progressed, so have small cell deployments. And while many equipment suppliers deliver small cells, Nandlall says what is unique about Ericsson’s small cell solutions are that the company has designed its systems to allow for real-time coordination between its small cells and macro cells, which lessens the possibility of interference and better preserves network capacity.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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